The Effect of Your Addiction on Others

Getting your spouse to Repent…

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This article was posted originally on my other blog at:

 Journey to Truth

Excellent article by Leslie Vernick.  This is a common theme in couples counseling, especially in those couples whom I work with where pornography or infidelity is an issue.  Please read the entire article, it is worth the time…


Article excerpt:

Question: My husband and I have been separated for 2 months now. How can our marital counselor start my husband down a road of true repentance? What are the actionable steps he needs to take?

Answer: This is probably one of the most frequent types of questions that I receive from women desperate to change their husband. “How can I or someone else, get my spouse down the road of repentance?”

Friend, that is not yours or anyone else’s work to do. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict someone and the one who has sinned must take the steps of repentance.

If it were possible for another person to get someone to take the steps of true repentance, we would think Jesus would be our role model. Yet, we see during the Last Supper, Jesus showed his disciples, including Judas, the full extent of his love. He knew Judas was about to betray him, told him he knew he was going to do it, and yet, Judas did not repent. He did not turn away from what he was about to do (John 13).

A Biblical example of someone who did display some of the fruit of true repentance was Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector. He loved money and had no problem extorting his fellow Jews for more tax money than was owed to fill up his own coffers. He is described as a very rich, but unpopular man.

When Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for lunch that day, something in this man’s heart changed. We hear it when he says, “Lord, I will give half my wealth to the poor and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much.” These action steps indicate that Zacchaeus’ heart had been changed. He no longer loved his money the most anymore. He loved Jesus. We can see what happened by the way he handled his money and his desire to make restitution to those he took advantage of.

True repentance cannot be coerced or taught. If your husband is genuinely repentant, then he already has started down the path and with accountability and help he can make real changes. If he hasn’t repented yet, no one can create the steps that will take him there. Consequences may open his eyes to the results of his sin, but he still must personally change directions (which is the definition of repentance).

So I’m going to answer another question you didn’t ask. What does genuine or true repentance look like if it’s indeed happening? We all know people who say they have repented but there is no fruit or evidence of that reality in their lives.

Paul discusses this process in Ephesians 4 when he describes the changes that genuine repentance brings. He says, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” And then he goes into specific situations.

For example, he says, “If you are a thief, quit stealing.” That is the first evidence of a change. The person STOPS doing what he was doing that was damaging to him or to you or to your relationship. He puts it off.

Secondly, Paul tells the thief something else. He goes on and says, “Instead, use your hands for good hard work.” You see a thief’s heart is one that takes what he wants with no regard for the people he harms. Now he is to take responsibility for his own needs by working instead of stealing from others.

Paul doesn’t stop there. He adds something else. He says, “Then give generously to others in need.” You see Paul says that transformation doesn’t just occur in outward actions, but in inward motives. The thief was to be transformed inwardly from a taker to a giver.

So if we take this model, of course, we want to see the sinful behavior stopped. We want to see responsibility assumed for one’s self, and we want to see a character transformation and new behaviors begin to develop.

Now we know this transformation is a process. It doesn’t occur in a moment. But what “evidence” do we see over time that this is happening?  What “fruits”are we looking for? Here are some things I look for without making a specific checklist.

  1. We see the person desiring to gain greater self-awareness. He begins to take responsibility for himself and asked himself why do I do what I do – without blaming other people or external situations for his own actions or feelings.  As he does this he begins to “put off” or stop himself from reacting or doing what he’s always done in the past. He self-corrects and gains self-control (one of the fruits of the Spirit).

2. We see him now open and willing to receive feedback from others. For example, when you notice he ’s slipping into some old behaviors, you can kindly tell him and he’s grateful, rather than angry or resentful.  It’s still up to him to “put off” those old behaviors, but he’s consistently practicing.

3. We see him willing to be accountable to a small group of trusted men to help him make the changes to his life he desires to make. Major life change never happens without accountability and support. How could Paul encourage the thief? Because he knew him. He understood what was happening in his heart and life and therefore he could speak into it.

So is your husband actively putting off the old thinking and habits and learning to respond in new ways by putting on new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving?

Are you observing a consistent change in his character as he now displays more humility instead of pride? Is there gratitude rather than entitlement, diligence rather than laziness, and compassion for others rather than impatience and anger? Is he becoming more God-centered rather than continuing to be self-centered and self-focused?  Is he willing to take responsibility for the pain he’s caused and no longer expects amnesty, but rather he is looking to make amends to those he’s harmed?

There is no exact list but you do want to see this kind of progression both internally and externally so that you are seeing the FRUIT of genuine repentance. Click To Tweet

Friends, when you have seen genuine repentance, what are some of the fruit you have noticed coming forth from a person?  


Article source: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/39511834/posts/1816248807

3 Ways to Tell If You’re Addicted to Masturbation

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Taken from an article found on the XXX Church Blog:


Addicted to masturbation??? Is that even possible?

[Yes], …masturbation can become a legitimate addiction, just like any behavior. I’m not intending to make a moral statement or provide a biblical guideline but rather to help you decide if you are addicted so you can seek healing.

Here are three practical ways to help you discern if you’re addicted to masturbation:

1) Are you using masturbation to alter your mood?

Masturbation is a quick fix. It’s free, accessible and easy. It’s the perfect drug. Understandably, men and women use it to medicate bad moods. Those warm fuzzy chemicals sure hit the spot!

There are more positive ways to sooth moods, for example, listening to calming music or having a hot bath after a lousy day. The difference with using masturbation to alleviate negative emotions is that the powerful chemicals and hormones involved set you up for compulsion and emotional repression, not to mention they can be a detriment your future or current sex life. These are powerful chemicals you’re playing with.

Take note of when you feel the urge. What has triggered you in the past? Did you feel stressed? Powerless? Rejected? Lonely? Tired? Anxious? Sometimes our sex drive is just being its thoughtful self and saying ‘Hey! It’s been a while since we’ve tried reproducing! I’m here to personally encourage you to today!’ (Thanks Sex Drive: maybe take note of the relationship status next time) However, there is often an underlying motivation: to feel good. Because you don’t already.

If you’re regularly masturbating in response to negative emotion, you may be addicted. Why? Because it reveals you’re not processing your emotions and indicates you’re living in some level of distress, making it the perfect opportunity to get hooked. Addiction loves pain. It is a faux salve for emotional wounds. But in reality, our vice, be it masturbation or otherwise, is infecting that wound that so desperately needs to be healed.

2) Do you feel like you can’t stop?

Perhaps one of the clearest signs of addiction is when you feel you can’t stop, even when you really want to. Pretty simple. You may white-knuckle it for a few weeks, but it always come crashing back into your life.

There’s a reason for this.

A sexual encounter (with someone else or on your own) instigates the release of a host of nice-feeling chemicals into your brain’s reward system. It’s an incredible gift from God when it’s not confused. It keeps humanity thriving and surviving. It releases chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin when you participate in a behavior that it believes ensures survival of the body or gene pool (hence why an orgasm feels so much better than mopping the floor or eating dirt). The reward pathways function is to remind the brain to do that thing again! Your body begins to make unconscious associations. When you feel poorly, it remembers how to give you a kick! A process begins deep in your brain which, unbroken, leads you right back to the behavior, because your brain is wired to seek the easiest route to pleasure.

3) Is your habit harming you or those around you?

A characteristic of any addiction is continuing despite harm. Harm can come in many forms: emotional, relational, physical, spiritual or criminal to name a few.

If you’re masturbating to the point of overuse or needing medical assistance, you may very well be addicted. This is nothing to be ashamed about. Doctors have seen it all.

Compulsive masturbation can lead to sexual dysfunction and less-than-ideal intimacy with your spouse. This is a very real harm that must be identified. More than physiological, this can affect your spouse emotionally. Are you masturbating to the detriment of your sex life?

Isolation is another harm to look out for.  Such retreat can be rooted in shame, anxiety or the lost ability to interact non-sexually. Perhaps you would rather be at home masturbating than socializing. Having an orgasm is easier than building real relationships. But only the latter will bear good fruit in the long run.

Masturbation is a very personal and complicated topic. It can be a response to sexual or emotional trauma, it can be a struggle that begins in early childhood, it can be accompanied by porn or voyeurism or nothing at all, and the line between “struggling with” and “addicted” can get blurry. There is a battlefield of opinions out there and it is so easy to slip into judgment and shame in this conversation.

Please know that, no matter what, you are known and cherished by the God of the universe, and the team at XXXchurch have resources to help you find freedom. You are not alone, and you need not feel ashamed. Recovery is so possible.


Original article source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/women/3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=Social-Lead-Gen-X3church&utm_content=3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation&utm_term=twitter-followers

“What’s Love got to do with it?”

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The excerpt below was taken from an article on the blog at [www.covenanteyes.com]


Porn ≠ Intimacy

In his book The Centerfold Syndrome, Dr. Gary Brooks explains why a porn-trained mind finds it harder and harder to make love. Porn, he says, promises (and delivers) a rush of sexual excitement without all the mess of actually connecting with another human being. It trains a sort of “voyeurism” in men, where we find it easier and more satisfying to just look at women rather than interact with them.

Brooks says pornography consumption creates in men a greater fear of intimacy. Porn exalts man’s sexual desires over the desire for real connection: it develops his preoccupation with sex and handicaps his ability for emotional intimacy.

Porn, he says, trains a man to both objectify women and feel validated in his masculinity by trophy women. More and more he rates women by the size, shape, and harmony of their body parts. More and more, in order to be aroused, he has to imagine himself being validated by women with porn-star bodies and attitudes.

In short, porn changes a man’s sexual expectations.

 


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/31/can-married-couples-enjoy-pornography-together/?utm_campaign=Porn%20and%20Your%20Husband&utm_content=65040368&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

The Psychological Impact of Porn

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The excerpt below is taken from an article at the blog at [www.covenanteyes.com]


The Psychological Impact of Porn

In her hearing before the U.S. Senate, Dr. MaryAnne Layden asserted that when men spend so much time in “unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid, and cyberspace,” they find it difficult to have sex with a real human being.

Is this an overstatement, or does the research bear this out?

  • Researchers James Weaver, Jonathan Masland, and Dolf Zillmann have watched how after being shown only 26 photos and one six-minute video of attractive nude females exhibiting sexual behavior, men routinely rate their partner’s attractiveness lower.
  • Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant have also observed how after watching only five hours of pornographic videos over six week period, both men and women experience a decrease in sexual satisfaction. Study participants said they felt less satisfied with their intimate partners’ physical appearance, affection, and sexual performance.
  • In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sex Research, for men, frequency of viewing pornography was correlated with a lower satisfaction with sex and relationships.
  • Neurologist Serge Stoleru has found that overexposure to erotic stimuli exhausts the sexually responses of healthy young men.
  • In a 2006 study among college men, Todd Morrison and other researchers concluded there was a significant correlation between exposure to Internet pornography and levels of sexual esteem.
  • In 2007, a study of more than 2,300 adolescents found a correlation between viewing Internet porn and greatly increased uncertainties about sexuality and the belief that women are sex objects.

How much more is this effect experienced today among men and women who routinely watch porn every week?


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/31/can-married-couples-enjoy-pornography-together/?utm_campaign=Porn%20and%20Your%20Husband&utm_content=65040368&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Moving Beyond Mistakes in Marriage

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Great article from the Gottman Institute:


I recently saw a video of a couple gracefully dancing on the streets of Israel, moving in and out of crowds, encapsulated by one another and their dance.

This couple moved with immense strength, agility, and elegance. Every step, spin, and lift was a piece of fine art. Their flawless performance left me mesmerized, inspired, and eager to return to the dance classes my husband and I had begun taking at Flow Studios in Seattle.

During our second lesson, my inspiration quickly turned into frustration as my partner and I began tripping over each other’s feet, colliding with one another, and growing steadily disheartened.

Our dance was anything but graceful.

Mistakes are normal

As we moved clumsily across the dance floor, I recalled the Israeli couple and their “flawless” dance. I had to remind myself that while this couple’s dance appeared perfect, they definitely made off-camera mistakes and had probably already practiced this dance hundreds of times.

No couple is perfect, whether on the dance floor or in everyday life.

From a distance, there are plenty of individuals or couples who appear to live their lives perfectly together. But in reality, we all slip and stumble from time to time.

While mistakes are inevitable in our relationships, it is how we respond to them that makes all of the difference between relationships that are resilient and flourish through imperfections, and those that crumble apart.

Pause: Acknowledge when you stumble

If, or rather when, you stumble with your partner (on or off the dance floor), it is necessary to first acknowledge the mistake.

When we take the time to acknowledge that we have messed up, we should mindfully search ourselves for the potential roots of our blunder. In taking the time to “check ourselves,” we build greater self awareness and cultivate the ability to choose wisely in the future.

On the dance floor, this can happen in the flash of an eye.

When we began our lesson, I repeatedly found myself tripping over my partner’s shoes but continued to stubbornly push through, determined to move beyond and perfect our dance.

It finally dawned on me that this issue wasn’t going to fix itself until we paused to take the time to explore the roots of the problem.

Our dance teacher, Michael, explained the importance of looking up at your partner and staying focused on the rhythm of the music. “No matter what you do, stay in beat with the song,” he described.

I had been so intensely preoccupied looking down, trying not to trip over my husband’s feet, that I had completely forgotten to listen to and feel the rhythm of the music. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the roots of our stumbling was crucial to resetting our dance. In this situation, I inevitably needed a little external guidance to build this awareness.

While acknowledging our issues or mistakes is pertinent, it is equally as essential that we don’t “get stuck” looking down, or internalizing that we are defined by our imperfections.

Brené Brown explains the difference between shame and guilt as related to our mistakes. While guilt says “I did something bad” and is a normal, healthy reaction when we operate outside of our value system, shame says “I am bad.”

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” she describes.

When I was stuck in a pattern looking down at my feet stumbling on my partner’s, it was hard not to internalize that I am simply a “bad dancer,” and that there’s not much hope that I will ever improve. As I was able to shift my lens and look up at my partner, I was able to glean more hope that together, we could improve and strengthen our dance and relationship.

Process: Make repair attempt

After recognizing that one has made a mistake, it is important to make a repair with your partner.

The Gottmans explain that while it is normal to make mistakes and have conflict with your partner, healthy relationships are those that make repair attempts. Repairs, defined by the Gottmans, are “any statement(s) or action(s) — silly or otherwise — that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”

As my partner and I danced in our second lesson and I continued to clumsily stumble over his feet, I felt my blood pressure starting to rise with waves of frustration emerging above the surface. My partner inevitably felt these forces in our dance, which suddenly had taken on a rather negative tone.

While it wasn’t necessary for me to apologize every time I stepped on my husband’s feet, it was crucial to make a repair before I got “flooded,” as the Gottmans call it, and said or did something regrettable.

So how do you make repair attempts? They can vary drastically from couple to couple, and from situation to situation.

In this situation, I not only apologized verbally to my partner for my impatient and frustrated attitude, but also threw in some big, theatrical dance moves, twirling my partner around and dipping him, in an effort to lighten the mood and let him know that we are on the same team.

Through this repair attempt, we were able to break our negative pattern that was spiraling downwards and reset our tone with greater gentleness, playfulness, and care.

Over time, we have become increasingly quick and effective in making and responding to repair attempts. It is a skill that, if practiced, will help strengthen your ability to recover and thrive as a couple.

Proceed: Continue the dance

After acknowledging your mistakes and making repairs, keep dancing!

It may not be necessary to stop and have an extended conversation after every single slip and mistake. Every situation will vary greatly. Sometimes, a repair is a quick facial exchange acknowledging a mistake. Sometimes it means throwing in a silly dance move, or sitting down to have a five-minute conversation. Other times, it may involve seeking out external help through a therapist or other trusted individual to help you process as a couple.

Regardless of how long it takes you to work through the first two steps, at some point, it is crucial to move on, look ahead and continue your dance as a couple.

“Keep dancing! Don’t stop! Keep going!” our dance instructor shouted to us as he caught sight of me breaking our dance, discouraged by more tripping, even after we had processed the cause and remedy of our stumbling patterns.

As we moved forward and continued the dance, we kept a few principles in mind.

First, we focused on staying in rhythm with the music. When we stay in rhythm or true to the beat of the music, or our values, we are going to function more harmoniously as a couple.

What are your values as a couple, and as an individual? As we build awareness of and maintain focus on our values, we are more likely to operate within their realm.

Second, rather than looking down and stumbling on our feet, we focused on keeping our heads up and our eyes on each other as the central focus of our vision. As we did this, we actually found that we not only stumbled less, but also experienced a deeper connection and synchrony, which began to polish our dance.

Expand your story

We can choose to focus on our mistakes and internalize that there is little hope for change within ourselves or our relationship. Or we can acknowledge our mistakes, explore their roots, make repairs, and move on to continue the dance.

The choice is ours. We do not have to be defined by our errors. Instead, we can choose to learn and grow from them as we strengthen our personal and relational resilience and weave a preferred story of who we are, and who we want to become.

We can choose to recognize that we are imperfect human beings, but that together we are committed to move past our imperfections, to create a dance that reflects our story as a couple—one that is marked by unconditional love, joy, strength, and creativity.

This is part two of a four-part series on relationships and dance. You can read part one here.


Article source: https://www.gottman.com/blog/moving-beyond-mistakes-marriage/

Staying with your husband… for what he did right…

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I hope you enjoy this article I found about forgiveness and deciding to stay in a marriage where there has been infidelity.  I hope it encourages you… to make the right choice.  


By: Davida Brown

article source: http://yesmarriagerocks.com/mrocks/blog/item/142-i-chose-to-stay-for-what-he-did-right

Romantic Comedy is my favorite genre.  Romance films make me feel  warm and tingly, as they pull on all my heart strings:  love, commitment, faith and unity.

I happened to watch “the Vow” a few days ago, and there was a scene in that movie that made my heart stop, a line that captured the essence of what I say day in and day out to my clients. If you’re not familiar with this movie, it’s about a young married couple, Leo and Paige, who are in a  car accident, resulting in Paige losing a chunk of her memory.  To Leo’s chagrin, she has no memory of him, their relationship or marriage.  The movie chronicles their journey back to each other.

During the movie, we learn that Paige and her parents were estranged for a number of years.  Paige can’t remember why and no one in her family will tell her what caused the fallout.  Eventually, Paige discovers that her father had an affair with one of her friends.  Paige is distraught and angry.  She confronts her mother, spewing contempt.  She doesn’t understand how she could stay after what he did.  Her mother responds, “I couldn’t leave. I made a choice. I chose to stay with him for all the things he’s done right; not leave for the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive him.”

Her words hit me like a mack truck.  YEEEESSSSSS, I screamed inwardly.  Marriage is a choice.  Choosing to stay married when your spouse violates your trust is a choice.  Choosing to acknowledge and appreciate all the things your spouse does right, despite the breach in trust, is a choice.  Forgiveness is a choice.

When the movie ended, I reflected on this scene for quite some time.  Years ago, I too made the choice to stay after the love of my life cheated on me.  I chose not to end our relationship because of his mistake.  I chose to forgive and trust again.

It wasn’t easy folks.  NOT AT ALL.  I was angry, hurt, disappointed, embarrassed and on and on.  How dare he step out on me?   We had a great relationship, or so I thought.  Why would he do this to me, to us?  I eventually had to come to grips with the fact that I would never understand why he cheated. We often think that if we know why he or she did it, it’ll help us get over it.  It doesn’t and in my opinion is a waste of time and energy.  Did I ask why he cheated? Of course.  But at the end of the day none of the reasons made any difference in how I felt. Cheating is a choice and my husband made that choice. It was inexcusable and no explanation would change that. So instead of trying to “understand” why he made that choice, I directed my energy to figuring out what I wanted.  Did I want my relationship? Yes or No?  I grappled with this question for months. I thought about all the good things about him, about us.  Was his mistake bigger than us?

Ultimately I decided that I wanted my relationship.  Making that decision was the biggest hurdle. Once I did, my actions from that day forward were in alignment with that choice. That meant I had to forgive and had to figure out a way to trust him again.  It didn’t happen overnight, but with a lot of effort, together, we found a way to rebuild the trust. While I certainly wish the infidelity never happened, I can honestly say that we are now in a great place, and I am so glad that I made the choice to give him another chance.

There are many of you reading this article that believe that infidelity is unforgivable, that once the trust is broken it simply can’t be restored, that if you choose to save your marriage you are weak or insecure.  If that’s you, you certainly are entitled to feel that way. Only you know what’s best for you and only you are equipped to make that decision.  But, if you are committed to trying to save your marriage, if your spouse is committed to trying to save your marriage, I want you to know that moving past the infidelity can be done.  We did it and so have many couples we coach. I want you to know that choosing to give your spouse and marriage another chance does not mean you are weak, insecure or lacking in self-respect.  Only you know the value of your marriage.  Only you know if your marriage is worth fighting for.  Take the time to consider everything before making a choice.  I did.  Take the time to pray for discernment and to listen for that voice inside you. And if you decide that you want your marriage (spouse must want it too), take the necessary steps together to implement that choice.


 

Is abstaining from sex in marriage while recovering from porn really necessary?

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This article comes from CovenantEyes.com.  The concept in this article is one that any person addicted to or struggling with pornography [and their spouse] needs to read.  


Should Married Couples Fast from Sex During Porn-Detox?

 

90 days of no sex. This is what several porn addiction counselors prescribe for addicts and their spouses during the initial months of recovery. Why is this? Is this really necessary?

Dr. Mark Laaser, a nationally recognized author in the field of sex addiction, requires his patients to sign a 90-day abstinence contract: no masturbation, no porn, not even sex with your spouse. Sam Black, in his book The Porn Circuit, explains Dr. Laaser’s rationale:

First of all, he says, a person needs to learn that they won’t die without sex, especially for 90 days. But more importantly, the person struggling with pornography or sex addiction needs to work proactively about learning true intimacy.

“The abstinence contract on the front end is entirely about neurochemical detox,” Laaser says. “It’s resetting the brain in terms of sexual expectations.”

Dr. Laaser isn’t alone in the 90-day abstinence concept. Dr. Patrick Carnes, founder of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, himself a 30-year veteran in the field of addiction therapy, also requires this of his patients.

 

The Rationale Behind “90 Days”

From a clinical perspective, a porn addict is hooked on the neurochemicals released in his or her brain during a sexual encounter. This powerful neuro-cocktail of dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, and serotonin is responsible for the physical aspects of porn addiction (including withdrawal symptoms). These neurotransmitters and hormones are part of the “reward circuit” in the brain.

Some addiction therapists believe the only way to deactivate the reward system of the brain is to stop the reinforcing behavior—i.e. letting these neuro-circuits rest.

The concept of “90 days” is taken from substance abuse research which has demonstrated that it takes about three months for neurochemistry to reset to normal levels once the substance use has ended.

Other counselors are far more flexible on the time frame, suggesting 30 or 40 days instead.

The Biblical Rationale: Fasting From Sex

There were some in the early church who thought sex was beneath the ideal Christian life. Sex was a base act of the body. These Christians wrote to Paul saying, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman”—not even his own wife (1 Corinthians 7:1).

Hear Paul’s response:

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:2-4)

Paul’s position was radical. In the Greco-Roman world of his day, marriage was often a mere social arrangement. But here, Paul talks about a mutual sexual responsibility and blessing. Moreover, in that day, men of status were masters of their wives. For Paul to say that a woman has conjugal rights and that she has authority over her husband’s body would have been unheard of.

But then Paul adds this addendum:

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:5)

Paul here implies that sex in marriage should be frequent. In fact, he says to deny sex to one’s spouse is to “deprive” him or her—this same word is translated “defraud” one chapter earlier (6:8). Sex helps to guard against sexual immorality and a lack of self-control. But he does make the provision that a couple can make a mutual agreement to abstain from sex for a “limited time” for the purpose of being devoted to prayer.

Paul is describing a type of fasting. Just as fasting from food was an acceptable way to devote to prayer for a season, fasting from sex was also a custom in Paul’s day.

Caveats and Conditions

While Paul endorses the idea that sexual fasting can be an appropriate way for a couple to devote themselves to prayer, the following caveats should be noted…

  • Sexual fasting is not required. Nothing in Paul’s tone should lead the reader to think most or all married couples should engage in sexual fasting. Paul is wary of the Satan’s ability to tempt and sees frequent sex in marriage as a good safeguard.
  • Sexual fasting should only be done by mutual consent. The man or woman in porn-detox may not simply declare a sexual fast. It must be discussed and agreed upon. Christian counselors, even if they encourage a sexual fast, should not require it if the spouse is not agreeable to it.
  • Routine sexual abstinence in marriage is not just unwise but is clearly immoral in Paul’s eyes. My marriage bond means my body is no longer my own, and to deny my wife sex is to defraud her. Fasting from sex might be appropriate on occasion, but should never become the norm.
  • Fasting from sex should be for “a limited time,” or literally, a fixed period of time. Fasting from sex indefinitely was not prescribed here. A set time should be agreed upon.
  • Fasting from sex should end with sexual enjoyment. Paul tells couples to come back together again when the agreed upon time is over.

Dethroning the Idol of Sex

Every case of porn addiction is difference among men and women. In each instance, counselors should meet people where they are. This means not every couple should fast from sex.

For many Christian counselors, this abstinence period is recommended as a time to intentionally de-throne the idol of sexual gratification. For many porn addicts, sex is life to them. Intimacy is about sex and nothing else.

A sexual fast disciplines the man or woman obsessed with sex to remember that sex is not a need. It may feel like a need, but it is not. A sexual fast can also be helpful for the man or woman who finds it impossible have sex without pornographic fantasies dominating his or her mind.

A sexual fast also reinforces an important truth for the spouse: she or he is not to blame for the partner’s addiction. It is easy for a spouse to feel like if they were more sexually available, prettier, or thinner, the partner wouldn’t need porn. A sexual fast reminds the couple: porn was never a need to begin with. The spouse can rest knowing there is no pressure to sexually perform to make recovery a success.

During a sexual fast, the couple is encouraged to practice and develop the habits of non-sexual intimacy. For many addicts, their porn-saturated minds are numb to everyday pleasures and joys. They have lost the ability to simply enjoy spending time with their spouses—talking together, taking walks together, cooking together, praying together. Sam Black writes,

For someone with an obsessive porn habit or an addiction, the focus has been on personal and immediate gratification. The people in porn are used; the porn user gives nothing. Especially for men, porn equates to selfishness that typically extends to their marital life. This even includes the overemphasis men can have of their sexual performance, pride or fear about their prowess, and where sexual performance is equated to their manliness. (The Porn Circuit, 33)

Porn trains us to treat sex as something that should be devoured. A sexual fast retrains the mind to understand that sex is better when it is savored.

Can You Really Go 90 Days?

Before Christian men and women are married, they go years—even decades—without sex. Going without sex for 90 days is more than possible.

However, for a married couple, the situation is somewhat different. Sex unites men and women in a profound way: the Bible calls it being made “one flesh.” There is an intimate bond established, and God beckons married men and women to reforge that bond through frequent sex.

Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19)

This is why sexual fasting in marriage—in the sparing instances when it is done—should never be done with a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it mentality. The goal of a sexual fast is drawing closer to God and one another, with the ultimate goal of more intimate sex when the fast is over.


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2014/02/25/married-couples-refrain-sex-porn-detox/#